In decapod crustaceans, molt hormone (ecdysone) production by Y-organs is suppressed by an eyestalk neurosecretory product, molt-inhibiting hormone (MIH). Environmental stressors are known to delay or prevent molting in crabs. The present study assesses the function of the MIH-Y-organ neuroendocrine system in the crab Cancer antennarius under conditions of daily handling stress. After three days, stressed crabs showed significant suppression of hemolymph ecdysteroid levels, which continued to fall to 20% of controls by day 14. Ecdysteroid titers of stressed crabs returned to prestress levels seven days after stress termination. Ecdysteroid levels in de-eyestalked (DES) crabs rose 160% within 48 hr post-DES. Stressing DES crabs over 16 subsequent days did not significantly alter ecdysteroid levels compared with unstressed DES controls. Handling stress thus depresses hemolymph ecdysteroid levels in the crab, a response that is mediated by eyestalks and appears to result from stress-induced MIH release.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Experimental Zoology
|Published - 1985
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology